Tag Archives: stag

Rudolph caught on trail camera

Rudolph caught on trail camera by Christmas lights on edge of Exmoor, then poses for the houseowner to take photos, before raiding their bird feeders!

Having followed one particular magnificent Exmoor stag for several years, which had taken to visiting various gardens on the edge of town, I set up several remote wildlife cameras to get footage of him across the seasons.  Coming up to Christmas I had rather a pleasant surprise when finding I had captured footage of him coming to view the Christmas lights.

The owners of the house also spotted him looking in through their windows, and he even posed for some photos when the lady of the house  quietly went out to see him.  (see video below)


Later on in the above video “Rudolph” is seen attempting and succeeding at carefully dislodging a bird feeder with his antler tips and then eating the contents.

This is a trick which I had also filmed him perfecting earlier in the year here and in another garden. More on this in my earlier post : Wily old stag uses antler tips to dislodge bird feeders …. again and again !


 

Wild Exmoor stag learns to use antlers as tools

The wily Exmoor stag that learned to use his antlers as tools

When researching and filming red deer in the urban fringe over the past two years (see my previous blog) one particular stag always stood out for his intelligence, dexterity and constant twinkle in his eye !

Startled !In one video clip featured widely on BBC TV and other media during March, I’d filmed him dislodging bird feeders in gardens on the edge of the Exmoor National Park in Somerset.  The intriguing thing about this however is not merely to have a stag in a garden pinching food from a bird feeder, but the very intricate way this stag gradually ‘learned’  to use his antlers to unhook the feeders.  Not least as hoofed animals (ungulates) are not generally regarded as the brainiest among mammals. I’d observed a number of other stags in the past simply thrashing their antlers against bird feeders, scattering a few seeds on the ground now and again.  But in the amusing trimmed version of my clip with audio as used by the BBC Instagram  it shows this old wily stag actually using the tip of his antlers to lift feeders off the tree branches they were hooked on to.  In the first part of the clearer full size youtube clip (below) you can see the feeder being  seen to smash open on the deer’s back, though this was far from a one off.

Krypton

“Wily old stag uses antlers to dislodge bird feeders”

Having set up cameras by several bird feeders in nearby gardens. the wily old stag i named ‘Cedar’ managed the trick increasingly quickly; but normally once dislodged the he would paw at the feeder on the ground until the lid snapped off and then ate the contents.   Red Stag at birdfeeder Red stag at bird feeder

One of the first occasions I noted him and another stag feeding from bird feeders was two year’s earlier in spring, soon after the stags had cast their previous antlers to start to re-grow a new set (see antler growth blog). Even then ‘Cedar’, aged at least 12 to 15 years old at the time, showed he was much more adept than the other deer. Above he is seen reaching with his tongue right into a bird table, while the others just waited for the occasional tit-bit to fall on the ground.  Sadly due to an infected injury sustained in the rut this stag did not make it through yet another winter, though he’d lived far longer than most wild stags ever reach on Exmoor.  It will be interesting to see if some of his many offspring turn out to be just as clever.

To see some of the other antics this wild stag got up to when visiting various gardens I’d been filming in, click on the thumbnails below to link to short video clips, ranging from some where he uses his antlers as backscratchers, to others where he raids the washing line to dress up for Halloween :-). Click on thumbnails below to play clips.

“Cedar making an entrance”

Scatch

“Stag Cedar using antlers a backscratchers”

Halloween

“Stag Cedar dresses up for Halloween”

smoking

Stag Cedar Smoking

Mapie

“Stag Cedar and Magpie Friend”

town

“..and a Good night from Stag Cedar”


 

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